John Wylie, chairman of the Australian Sports Commission, has written to professional clubs and national associations across the country imploring board directors to follow new integrity guidelines to help insulating their organizations from the growing risks of match-fixing and doping.

Wylie remarked the integrity risks to sport are increasing in a range of areas, not just in doping and illicit drugs but in match-fixing and areas like that. The chairman of the Australian Sports Commission also commented that we wanted to provide practical guidance to directors of sports boards as to what are the questions they should be asking around the board table to maximize the likelihood that they can avoid any problems in integrity in their sport and their clubs. Wylie also said the risks are going up and that means the reputational risk to directors is increasing so we felt that there is a very important goal there for the sports commission.

The ASC, which oversees more than $134 million of federal government funding to sports, sent a five-page document imploring volunteer directors to be vigilant. The guidelines of ASC include advice to sport directors to sit in and hear briefings at least once a year given by their sport’s anti-corruption officials to players. The ASC guidelines also suggested that the directors should ask questions pertaining to sports medicine and sports science, illicit drugs, anti-doping, child protection, and match-fixing.

Wylie said frankly a lot of directors on the sports boards do not know what questions to ask but no one wants to be a director of an organization where things blow up into an integrity crisis so we are trying to help them minimize the risks. The Australian Sports Commission chairman added directors should be aware of what the trends are in betting, they should be making sure that their sporting code is working with all the international organizations that monitor sports betting, for example and also said being fully informed is an essential part of minimizing the risk for directors. The new guidelines for directors were not mandatory and not associated to funding of individual sports, said Wylie. The ASC chairman also said the integrity of sport is fundamental to spectators’ confidence in the sports and to the long-term success of the sport.

Major football codes of Australia have been gripped by high-profile doping scandals in recent times with Essendon and Cronulla being the big names. There have also been prominent match-fixing affairs in the Victorian League Soccer and the NRL in recent years.

In a recently-released by the World Anti-Doping Agency listing the top 10 nations with maximum drug offences in 2014, Australia was on the seventh spot with 49 recorded doping offences. This count included 20 in rugby league, nine in bodybuilding, four in life-saving, three in athletics, two in Australian rules for football, two in cycling, among others. Russia was on the top of the list followed by Italy and India. Belgium, France and Turkey landed the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions. WADA Director General David Howman remarked the report is strictly evidence-based.

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